I believe it’s important to provide art programs, for children and adults alike as many schools and communities have had to drop them from their for people of all ages.
The curriculums for all of my classes are based on “Classical-Academic” methods (the studio teaching methods of the 19th century Academic Tradition in the Fine Arts). It is blended with the more contemporary Right Brain/ Left Brain approach. I take a “step-by step” approach and am goal-oriented, focusing on instructing new artistic methods and techniques that will not only teach drawing but teach other specific sets of higher-order “thinking skills” rarely addressed elsewhere in the school curriculum. Such skills include focused observation, analysis, visual-spatial abilities, seeing new patterns, persistence, personal expression, envisioning solutions, innovation through exploration, decision-making, development of imagination and judgment, reflective self-evaluation and willingness to experiment and learn from unworkable scenarios. These ”habits of the mind" that arts classes teach are difficult to access the competency of, through testing (WASL) such as reading or math are, yet they still have a value as learning tools, both in school and elsewhere in life.
My favorite saying to my students is …. “There are no mistakes in art, just opportunities to learn something new or different”. This allows them to appreciate where they are in their artistic style/technique and feel comfortable reaching for more knowledge as they are ready. Too many students think they can not create art because it does not look “just like someone else’s” that they admire. I want them to learn that how they express themselves, through art, is every bit as enjoyable, appreciated and wonderful as every other artist they see. This attitude also helps each student feel competent, accomplished and confident to try new things. There are many children who stop creating art because “it doesn’t look real”, something very important to many “budding artists”. I help them to learn the fundamentals of creating “realistic” art and after they have, encouraging them to take it in any direction that they choose. Whether the style is hyperrealism or abstraction or anything in between. After all, Picasso could “draw like an angel” (classical academic drawing techniques) yet he chose to express himself in a totally new way and we all know how that turned out.
I’m a non-smoker, non-drinker and non-drug user. I believe it is my responsibility to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for my students, while instructing them on the various aspects of drawing and art.
Both my students and I have fun in a relaxed and casual atmosphere, while sharing our mutual learning experience because I also learn new ways of seeing and creating art as a result of working with young and innovative artists.